A small team of angst-ridden young scientists are close to discovering the secrets of human tissue regeneration.  Success would mean the realization of  Mankind's greatest dream... life immortal.  However, apparently forgotton by our idealistic friends, the reckless quest for scientific dreams can often produce nightmarish results. Such is the case when an accidental overdose of gamma radiation unleashes the hidden rage within one of their own.  His name... Bruce Banner.
    Yes, the Hulk is the latest, if not the greatest, comic book hero to leap onto the silver screen.  You may notice that this movie is not entitled The Incredible Hulk.  That's kind of a shame, since many aspects of it are quite incredible!  It's incredibly boring, incredibly downbeat, and at times, incredibly irritating. 
    We begin with a cast of characters who all appear to suffer from various instabilities.  Some are depressed, some are angry, some are insane, and a couple have mutated DNA.  Unfortunately, none of them are very likeable.  Personally, I was expecting something a bit more emotionally lighthearted, you know, like Silence of the Lambs
    Next, after an eternity of scenes featuring dialogue that makes you wonder, 'what the heck is that supposed to mean?', we are finally treated to an incredibly cartoonish unjolly green giant.  Before now, to see CGI this good, you would need a Sony Playstation 2. 

    For action, the big green guy destroys various set locations and the occassional CGI military vehicle.  And, just for fun, everyone gets to play a game of follow the bouncing Hulk.  You know something's amiss when the audience starts laughing at a tragic hero!  Then, with rumbling fury, he makes the earth shake and buckle under his mighty, mutant force, but, true to form, the citizens of San Francisco barely notice. This, of course, is followed by more incoherent dialogue from Banner, played by Eric Bana, and Banner's psycho-dad, played by Nick Nolte.  There's a complicated father-son relationship going on here, but it only serves to make an already lifeless affair even more dreary. 
   Director Ang Lee has made the fatal mistake of creating a comic book film that is not designed to interest comic book fans.  Hulk aspires to be more substantive than earlier super hero movies, but only manages to be less exciting with its tedious, quasi-Frankenstein plotline.  Lee must have ultimately noticed how painfully dull this movie was from the relative safety of his editing room, where it appears he has attempted to repair some of the damage.  As a result, he bombards us with split screens, flash zooms, and image warps that are meant to liven things up by playing on the Hulk's comic book origins.  It's too bad that most of these tricks seem more like desperate attempts to justify all the extra coverage he filmed. 
    Well, it was bound to happen, but I hadn't expected it to be this soon!  The bubble has burst on the previously invincible Marvel movie franchise.  They got this one wrong on so many levels that I was left longing for those good old days of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno!  Here, the Hulk comes off more pathetic than heroic, which may be fine for a television melodrama, but the Hulk?  I actually began to hope that someone would succeed in putting the poor guy out of his misery!  In the end, Hulk only proves what everybody already knows... it's not easy being green.


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A.J.'s Place - Main Menu
Review published
June 20, 2003
A.J.'s Rating:  1.5 Stars - A.J. Smash Hulk!
Directed By:  Ang Lee
Written By:  John Turman, Michael France, James Schamus
Starring:  Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte
MPAA:  Rated PG-13 for action violence, disturbing images and brief partial nudity.